Flavonoids are one of the most important classes of natural products having a wide variety of biological activities. There is wide interest in a range of medical and dietary applications, and having a rapid, reliable method for structural elucidation is essential. In this study a range of flavonoid standards are investigated by chip-based negative ion nanospray mass spectrometry. It was found that the different classes of flavonoid studied have a combination of distinct neutral losses from the precursor ion [M-H](-) along with characteristic low-mass ions. By looking only for this distinct pattern of product ions, it is possible to determine the class of flavonoid directly. This methodology is tested here by the analysis of a green tea extract, where the expected flavonoids were readily identified, along with quercetin, which is shown to be present at only about 2% of the most intense ion in the spectrum.
The article is published online in the International Journal of Analytical Chemistry and is free to access.